In a rematch that was originally slated for this past July, Ilja Dragunov challenged WALTER for the NXT United Kingdom Championship at NXT TakeOver 36. This is a rematch of their NXT UK encounter from October 29, 2020. This was considered, by many wrestling fans, as the Match of the Year. It featured two hungry, intense wrestlers vying for, in their eyes, the most prized possession in wrestling. Despite a valiant effort by “The Mad Russian,” it was “The Ring General” that successfully defended his title in this night. Since then, the two repeatedly locked horns on NXT proper heading into TakeOver. Ilja Dragunov was the better man on this night, as he won the NXT United Kingdom title at TakeOver 36, shattering WALTER’s 870-day championship reign in the process.
— WWE (@WWE) August 23, 2021
Ilja Dragunov Captures NXT UK Title at TakeOver 36
With this victory, Ilja Dragunov is the new NXT United Kingdom Champion. Furthermore, he is only the fourth man in history to hold the title. It was originally won by Tyler Bate in January of 2017 during WWE’s United Kingdom Championship Tournament. “The Big Strong Boi” would hold the title to May, when he dropped it to Pete Dunne. From there, “The Bruiserweight” amassed 685 days as the UK titleholder, eclipsing Bate’s title reign. In April of 2019, at NXT TakeOver: New York, Dunne would lose the title to WALTER, who went on to boast the longest NXT UK Championship reign at 870 days.
This victory marks Ilja Dragunov’s first title win in WWE. Prior to this, he saw considerable success in the United Kingdom, Westside Xtreme Wrestling being the most prominent. In the Germany-based promotion, Dragunov became a 2x wXw Shotgun Champion, 1x Unified World Wrestling Champion, and 3x World Tag Team Champion. Ironically enough, Dragunov’s final tag team title reign was shared alongside WALTER.
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